“Be Strong, Fear Not”
We are already in the second week of Advent and, given that it is especially short this year, it feels urgent to breathe deeply in God’s Word and be fed. The readings from Isaiah these days are so vivid and paint, at least in my mind, an extraordinary picture – “strengthen the hands that are feeble.” I think of our team who serve our elders through Meals on Wheels and in nursing homes, how their tender word and loving gaze does just that. “Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not!”
At this time of year when our consumer society bombards our senses with what it means to celebrate Christmas, many we serve are disheartened and frightened that they can’t give to their children and thereby question what that says to them about being parents. We offer Christmas “stores” supplied by churches and businesses and people who want to help. Gifts are sorted into age appropriate sections and parents are able to shop for their children, take the wrapping paper with them and “make Christmas” for their family.
In this way and in so many others, we and you “carry” our neighbors in need as the man’s friends did in the Gospel. The path to assistance and/or healing is not always a straight one. For many, being lifted through the roof would be easy, and yet our invitation is to both “make way” for folks who come to us and also to “lower them” so they can experience the healing hand of Jesus through our staff, our volunteers and our God. In those moments we know that we “strengthen the hands that are feeble,” we “say to those whose hearts are frightened, be strong, fear not” and that we “have seen incredible things today.”
May this day be filled with “paintings” of the Divine One everywhere you look and my you lay your head on the pillow tonight remembering the incredible things you have seen today.
Sr. Betsy Van Deusenis a Sister of Saint Joseph of Carondelet who serves on the CCUSA Parish Social Ministry Team. She ministers as the Director of Community Partnerships for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany.
2017 ADVENT REFLECTIONS
During the Advent season, CCUSA offers reflections on each day’s Mass readings. The reflections are authored by Catholic Charities employees and other social concerns ministers who have a connection to Catholic Charities. The reflections will arrive by email first thing each morning. Sign up here to receive them.